A Parting Of Ways

History follows its own definitions
from a beginning to an end,
with all told tales in between.
Was it a kiss, a promise, a letter?
Whatever, beguiling human nature
prevailed and you went, as now I know,
to the promised land of someone else.

Now, writing these words, I have a sense
not rightly of regret but more of shame -
maybe blame - that for the sake
of one unuttered word so much was lost,
so much weighted in this intolerable world
that made us whole for a while; get the sense
that, somehow, this was meant to be,

a cold fire, an unlit lamp, an astounded
moon and the children, upstairs
in their beds, unaware of what I was unaware,
that things happen that cannot be said.
And as we walk our separate ways, the unholy
sprain of desire shifts to another spectrum

that has other things to offer, rain falling
this night, the darkness bright in confusion
as I raise my fingers to this keyboard
like someone ready for Bach then fall,
discontented, emptied as I wait for the midnight hour

the falling down of whatever there was so that
the ending happens, shifted in parallel, gone
like the tightened fist of anger that never leaves
and all the while the manifest mirror of forgetfulness
decanting images onto faces now tired and old,

overwhelmed and aching to get home
to the understood peace of their own

John Cornwall

If you've any comments on this poem, John Cornwall would be pleased to hear from you.